I’ve dealt with racists online and trolls. I’ve dealt with the stereotypical old conservative white man who loves Trump more than his own wife and kids. You see a lot of examples of blatant racism on Twitter with viral videos and popular Facebook posts. But to be knowingly supporting a racist by being their friend? I did that, too.
It wasn’t intentional but a close friendship ended over this racist person. It’s just shattering to meet someone who is racist but your age and seems so kind to his mixed race friends and loves Latin American music and oh, his half Jewish half Hispanic girlfriend. You wouldn’t suspect this person to be so hideous on the inside.
I met Audrey when I was 21 though a mutual friend over dinner at my apartment one night. She was quiet and soft-spoken, originally from Orange County but had friends in Utah as her family used to be LDS. She was pursuing a degree in film. It wasn’t difficult to get along with Audrey because she was so mild and agreeable. Her personality was sweet and predictable, and she was loyal, with a serious desire to accomplish her goals of being an actress one day which I admired. Immediately she invited me to go out to LA with her for her 21st (I declined as the girls trip seemed doomed from the get-go, and I didn’t know Audrey so well despite her referring to me a few weeks in as her “best friend”). I told her I loved California and would absolutely visit her out there one day.
We hung out a few more times and I even helped her with one of her final projects for school by selecting the filming location and plot. After that I flew out to see her while she was living at home for the summer.
The trip was all fine and well, and Audrey agreed to do anything I wanted to do. She wasn’t demanding and didn’t want to be in charge of making plans. We had a good time together. I saw her a few more times in California after that, and she came out with her sudden boyfriend (let’s call him… Bob) to double one night. Right off the bat Bob was somber and extremely boring. The only way to tolerate him was to drink heavily which my fiancé proceeded to do while he tried to bond with Bob. I sat and chatted with Audrey while this happened and she told me that because she was graduating in May, her and Bob were in a “temporary” relationship until she moved back to California and Bob went on with his unremarkable life after that. Allegedly they’d known each other through college and even dated briefly, but due to Bob’s then LDS beliefs, they were only allowed to kiss, and besides, Audrey wasn’t Bob’s biggest fan anyway. The relationship didn’t last long but they had reconnected after Bob’s divorce from a different woman and loosening beliefs (he now practices sex before marriage and drinking alcohol and Red Bulls).
Audrey was excited to spend the limited time with Bob before graduating and going back to beloved sunny Long Beach/LA (her parents are divorced so she spends time in both locations) to pursue acting and a trip to Italy that another man was willing to pay for her to join him on. Bob was aware of their temporary-ness and just seemed along for the ride (he was unaware of Italy man). On a separate occasion where we had them over for a poker night, Bob quickly lost interest in the game in favor of watching soccer on his phone instead. I kept the thought in my head that if this was an Actual Relationship that Audrey was entertaining and not just some hookup, I would have been sad and upset for her. This guy was so rude. But then to be fair, he was only in it for the sex. It’s not like his hookups friend’s meant much to him. He just wanted to smash, bruh.
Fast forward to a few months later after May; to make a long story short, Audrey graduated, moved back to California, promptly passed out while at a concert with Bob and gave herself a concussion resulting in not being able to go to Italy and staying mostly bedridden in LA for the summer. She took this to be a sign to stay with Bob and not pursue another man… that the universe was telling her to make the temporary relationship permanent. It felt like I was watching in slow-motion as Audrey, a girl I’d come to know quite well, quietly and quickly pigeon-holed herself into a relationship with a guy that had always only seemed half-interested in her, despite her insistence that they had real feelings for each other.
At this point, it’s worth noting that I should have spoken up sooner about my reservations on Bob. But it happened so fast and I didn’t want to come across as being the cocky engaged friend pushing her relationship advice onto someone who just wanted to the happy. At least Bob seemed to do that in his own unique way.
In the months following, Audrey got money from her Dad to fly out to see Bob and pay for their hotels, go on trips with Bob, and even take him to Disneyland for his birthday, using any additional money from acting gigs that she scraped together. Bob did get a hotel in Utah for Audrey’s 22nd bday, but he came to me to ask for a list of activities they could do together and essentially had me plan the entire birthday for him. Very romantic.
Audrey did visit me in Vegas once (after I moved from Utah) but it was so that Bob could meet her in Vegas and not have to drive all the way to California. In the back of my mind and coming from my own relationship that I’ve always worked to keep extremely financially equal from the beginning, it appeared that Audrey was doing all the heavy lifting because Bob was working away in school to become a pilot and would have $80k in debt to pay off.
…. Even though Bob managed to scrape together 20k to get a hair transplant shortly after Valentine’s day… but we won’t talk about that.
It wasn’t long into their year and half relationship that during one 3 hour long FaceTime call, Audrey told me that Bob had convinced her not to pursue acting any longer because if she was to theoretically kiss another man for a role, he would need to end things with her.
It was obvious to me after hearing so much about Bob that he was still very much LDS but sex addicted which was the main reason for him marrying and then divorcing so quickly, and loosening only specific things about his beliefs. Then Audrey informed me of some of the things Bob had been previously “joking” about being… well, true. Like his beliefs on LGBTQ and that if he did have a son (a daughter was never posed as part of the equation) that happened to be gay, he would love that son but not be able to support him in any way. And he was serious. To him, he would prefer a mentally disabled child to a gay child. Horrifically, he truly meant these things and it only got worse from there. Bob refused to believe that Audrey was in fact half Jewish and half Hispanic, and would argue with her despite her taking a DNA test and the results coming back to provide proof. I had no idea of any of these things when we’d hung out with Bob.
Discovering his public Twitter likes only further outraged me. He was so far right it wasn’t even conservatism anymore but instead just pure hatefulness. I found out about a lot of this a few weeks ago when during the height of BLM protests, Bob decided to break up with Audrey out of nowhere. She cried and cried to me and I supported her feelings and thoughts on the breakup and how she desperately wanted Bob back. (Yes, despite his blatant racism towards well, everyone, I still “supported” the two of them together just to spare Audrey’s already shattered heart) I offered to fly out to see her as soon as I was able to (the following week after the break up). She was very excited.
Then without letting me know, Audrey decided to have her friend from high school come out at the same exact time as me without letting me know beforehand. I wasn’t interested in meeting anyone new knowing that I’d have to talk Audrey off a ledge, and I let her know that was my boundary and I was looking forward to it just being the two of us. She fought with me and said that her friend could not change her ticket despite me having booked my ticket first (and it being nonrefundable). I eventually told Audrey, in her heightened and sensitive state, that I would see her another time and that she deserved to have a trip uninterrupted with her best friend from high school, and that I didn’t want to get in the way of that. I loved her and I just wanted the best for her. This resulted in her removing me from Find My Friends, from her Instagram, and blocking me on her Twitter and Snapchat.
I’m absolutely not sure why a racist ended my friendship with someone, but he did. His Twitter revealed him liking some of the most disgusting xenophobic, anti-feminist, ableist, homophobic and racist tweets Twitter has to offer… the kind of stuff you have to know to look for. It was consistent and concise and they were reflections of how he felt on the inside in his heart.
I know that my friend is heartbroken but I can’t support her being with a racist and, by extension, supporting racism and such pure hatred towards other human beings. Her reaction with me was sparked by my delicate disagreement of Bob. She didn’t like that I was not 100% on her side about staying with him. But how could I be? My mother and fiancé’s parents are immigrants. My fiancé has faced racism based on his name alone. My brother is autistic and my other brother is disabled. I have too many friends who have been shown acts of hatred due to racism, whether blatant or subtle.
And ultimately, it’s worth noting that people will exit your life if they are not meant to be in it. Was Audrey ever really a good friend to me? Yes. But maybe she had other intentions or maybe she just couldn’t stand being told that she was wrong. Certainly treating me the way she did wasn’t right. Bob is ultimately the one who needs to be held the most accountable in this in how he acts every day and the treatment of poor Audrey. (Where he’s manipulated and gaslit her, and is several years her senior might I add.)
I’m processing all of this the best that I can. The fact that a several year long friendship has ended, and the fact that I once was friends with a very racist and hateful person but had no idea. Even when I drunk-argued with Bob about sexuality and being gay (being a bisexual woman myself), and tried to change his mind on if he did have a gay child, ultimately he was very serious in his belief that “being gay is wrong”. Which is just so sad.
I’m not sure what Bob’s future holds for him, but I do know that he’s eventually going to become a pilot one day and the thought of having such a hateful and racist person in power is scary. It’s a reminder that these individuals do live among us at a young age and believe whole-heartedly that they’re right to think the way that they do.
I guess the point of this story is to educate and share my experience and maybe other’s have gone through the same thing and this helps a little. This whole event started with doing an act of love for someone and turned negative so quickly, and I’d like to turn that negativity into advice or a story that comforts someone going through anything similar. Losing a friendship isn’t easy, but with everything going on in society, losing that friendship over hate and racism means it was a necessary loss.
Be kind. x